1. To most of in North America your an unknown force ? Tell us a bit about Red Painted Red.
Most!!, probably all!!. Well, RPR was formed from 2 members of a band called Mantra who released a couple of albums in thel ate 90's and early 00's. The band hibernated in the early 00's due to mental health issues,childbearing and exaustion and never really awoke. Y. Neve and S.Carroll resumed writing music after this hiatus in 2007 in the guise of RPR and released the first of our trilogy of EP's 'Pathway' and recently the 'Preach' EP. In essence Red Painted Red is an extension of Mantra if you like, but just with 2 core members.Mantra albums, 'Painted Red' and 'Every Defect'were distributed through Metroplolis in the States.
2. Where did the name Red Painted Red Come from and what does it mean?
A statement of intent I suppose,an indication of concentration. A celebration of life's feelings and emotions. More on top of more, good feeling even better, upset being upset, layer upon layer, unbridled joy, hurt hurting more, darker black times etc..
3. Was Mantra your previous band anything similar to Red Painted Red?
Yes to a degree.Perhaps Mantra was a little more 'rocky' but many similar elements can be seen in RPR,. Although i don't like the term eclectic, as we have often been reviewed, many of RPR and Mantra songs vary in format, style and intent.There is a generic sound particuliar to our work but unfortunately in terms of popularity there is no paricular style that people can hone into or label which has probably been to our commercial detriment in the past and quite probably in the future!!
4. IF you were asked what styles Red Painted Red covered what would they be and why?
This is tough one! Something that we can't really answer. Reviewers and critics seem to form different opinions as to what our music means to them or a kind of 'field' we fit into. Some see us as invoking the mood of some Swans/,Portishead, This Mortal Coil and the 4AD scene,Kate Bush,PJ Harvey and the ethereal feel of My Bloody Valentine type music amongst many. We have even had comparisons to Sinead O'Connor and Tori Amos in the past!.A recent review called us'death folk'! whatever that is.I dont know.....but our music intends to create a reaction by using many valid tools and not being restricted to a certain pro forma. Melody is important to us, although we spend much of our time deconstructing it.I suppose we try and purvey a slight atmosphere of unease but are uncomfortable with the idea of regurgitating the same style of work over and over again.
5. There is very much a later period Swans meets Ulver vibe to your music . Are you fans of the more experimental beat driven sound?
We like the works of Gira but know little of the work of Ulver.Our musical tastes cover a whole gamut of styles.We do like the work of artists who push boundaries and respect the work of artists from many eras and genres. We are comfortable listening to popularist artists such as Tricky to the perceived more experimental artists of such as Wolf Eyes, Hair police, Whitehouse,Brighter Death Now etc. Innovative music has a value be it a pop song, improvised noise,classicalsonata form,minimalist drone, whatever, as long as it creates a reaction and importantly stirs emotion.
6. Are you Self releasing your project as I don't see any label supporting it?
Red Painted Red's work is being distibuted by our own label SSG.After being away from music for such a while we were inclined to release our work as soon as possible without the labourious task of seeking and securing a record contract. However we do appreciate the need to work with a record label to further our needs and will over the coming months be actively seeking a label to work with.Who would be interested in us though is another matter!. As sometimes we feel we are a square peg in too many labels'increasingly commercially reproductive round (ass)holes.
7. Did you choose to be a truly independence in this day and age?
No not particuarly. We hope to work with record labels again in the near future mainly to achieve tighter distribution and enjoy the benefits of a marketing budget and bypass our inherent failure to self promote.
8. Are you fans of the digital age (mp3s, Myspace, webzines, Internet radio ) or do you miss the more old school days or Fanzines, Radio and Vinyl and tapes?
Appreciate the merits of all. I suppose with the advent of today's technology people expect, and artists are encouraged to work more on marketing their work through these many mediums. It offers more choice and resources but sometimes less is more perhaps? On a musical level I think the abundance of music avaliable can be detrimental, as often people never give artist's music a chance to 'mark' them as they jump from music resource to another and are often expert in quantity rather than quality.
9. Is Red Painted Red just a duo of Yvonne Neve and Simon Carroll or do you collab with others in studio?
It is very much the core of Neve and Carroll. We do use other musicians as required, usually strings. At present we have not collabarated with any other artists but this is something that is a possibility.
10. Does Red Painted Red Perform live at all or is it just a studio/ artist creation right now.
After the release of our third EP in the series (this summer) we will be performing live. No details have been confirmed at present.
11. Will we see a Dvd or Video in the future as I can see a lot of visuals in the music you create.
It's rewarding to hear you 'see a lot of visuals'. That is really confirmation of what we try to achieve. We hope our music offers up many conflicting ideas and pictures as we are advocates of music stirring the listener cerebrally. We have an interest in video and hope to use this medium in the near future for both promotion and live work, our skills are limited but we are actively seeking collaborators to produce images to complement our work and hopefully prove to be a '3rd' member of Red Painted Red. As I think the use video is a natural extension of Red Painted Red.
12. Besides a myspace page i don't see much presence on the web. Do you rather have the music do the talking?
Definitely. We spend our time and energy making music and have reluctantly embraced Myspace which is our little portal to the world. We wish we were more savvy with the opportunities offered by the web but our apathy towards the medium is a fault we endure. Our releases are only available on CD format at the moment, we are not registered with any mp3 sites for paid download (although mp3.com and Lastfm carry some of our songs).This is a deliberate attempt to (re)promote the CD format, we offer innovative packaging (the last EP of the trilogy comes with a box for all releases) attempting to resurrect a packaged and personal product.
13. What can we expect with future Red Painted Red releases?
Initial work has started on the next EP, it is difficult to express any given musical direction, more Red Painted Red I suppose. Lyrically themes of our previous releases will be revisited as all the 3 EPs concern an evolving story and themes.
14. Thank you for the time any closing thoughts here.
Blut aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars- CD (Candlelight USA)
Black metal over the last 10 yrs or so has really taken a life all its own. Where a Raw Satanic BM force like Graveland and Epic Atmospheric Symphonic Black metal force like Dimmu Borgir are both thought of as just Black metal. Well Blut aus Nord takes this thought pattern and twists and turns it with the mixing of Doom, Prog Metal and Avant rock elements all under a very grim black metal back drop. To this review with " Memoria Vetusta II. They have added elements of Opeth, Mogwai and Radiohead into there blackened doom wall of sound. I really like the odd melodies that are created with the different styles both Clean and veru heavy reverbed guitar add to this a lot. The vocals are so grim then choirs and sung vocals come from no where as well with that more early raw BM drumming style this French Trio all the more interesting. The synths are use so well here as texture and featured elements depending on the mood fitting the track. Some in Blut aus Nord is learing to love Jazz and Prog arrangment very much as well this is not your typical release at all and Blut aus Nord become more of a musical gem with each release I hear from them. This is a 10 out of 10 for me this review around.
IXXI- Elect Darkness-CD (Candlelight USA)
This swedish unit is another of what a call the fragmented Post Black metal scene. There are a lot of Black metal elements in the Vocals, Drums and guitars but then they like to experiment with Electronics, Rock n Roll, Ambience and less metallic avenues. If you love bands like Khold, Manes, Arcturus, Red Harvest, DHG, Virus then you know were I'm coming from with IXXI. This is not just for the bullet belt/ corpse paint crowd at all. They will find an element of this fantastic but for forward thinking metal heads this has ton's to offer as well. Another winning chapter is the evolution of bands the haed Satyricon and Mayhem in the early 21st century and said this makes a lot of sense...
Throne of Katarsis - Helvete - Det Iskalde Mørket-CD (Candlelight USA)
Holy shit someone has a total worship for late 90's/ early 2000's Swedish Black metal. I swear this sound like " Those of the unlight" part two. Throne of Katarsis love of Marduk and Dark Funeral is clear in seconds. The lofi static tones the very ritualistic Bm vocals that almost come across as Satantic chants for the end of days. The brittle cold guitar tones while the bass has a warmth to keep the sound from ever sounding to thin. The Drums are more mid tempo but that double kick keeps the evil heads bouncing endlessly. If you don't like your BM fast, raw and full of Corpse paint this is not a band you need to look further too. If you miss the days of old for the Swedish BM sound then this band will be the new KLVT project of our dreams.
Tardy Brothers- Bloodline-CD (Candlelight USA) This is a bit different then I expected being that this is the vocalist of the legendary death metal force Obituary and his brother on drums. This is way more death in roll in the way that bands like Dismember and Entombed went for a while. There is almost a hard rock feeling with this esp in the solo where there so melodic and sweet. You will in a second know its Mr Tardy's vocals as they sound just like what you've hear in Obit for the last 10 plus years. I think this will take some getting use to for the Death metal fans to get adjusted too. They may like this but there is nothing really groundbreaking here at all. Classic Metal with Death vocals I'm not really sure what to make of it either. Only time will tell on this one...
Leif Edling- Songs of Torment- Songs of Joy-CD (Candlelight USA) I've never been a fan of Candlemass or there side projects. This is a very classic doom sounding record and not really winning me over at all. Leif Edling didn't need to make this record unless Candlemass is over as this sound like Candlemass with a different vocalist nothing more. Yes there is a bit more of a Doom/Death vibe here esp with all the upfront organ's (In a Skeptcism like manner for the music) but the vocals are just so silly and really take away from the music which has moments. I'm just not understanding why people love this Bassist of Candlemass so much. http://www.candlelightrecordsusa.com/
Absu-Absu-CD (Candlelight USA)
Eight years and a new label to boot. A lot has changed for Proscriptor and the gang. This Texas based Occult Metalist has awoken with a simply kick ass Black/Death release on this new home Candlelight. I'm not sure why the change in label's maybe Osmose is going into different visions and Ideals but I will say that Absu's self titled release is one of there best ever to my ears. There is a complexity and maturity to the structure and theme to the music and lyrics that I've been waiting for that finally seen the light of day. It may be the in flux of a few new member's to kick start it I don't know. All I will say this is a CD you take you time and dissect with many listens as it becomes more powerful and epic with each listen. I think I'm really starting to like all these once pure black metal forces adding Progressive and Bluesy elements into there music. It makes for a much more interesting listen in the end. Absu I hope it will not be eight years for your next challenging release as you have won me over here and will many others as they get to listen....
1. For those 1st coming to hear about Conure tell us how the project came to be?
I had been thinking about starting my own noise project for some time, and in mid-May of 2000, I finally bought my first piece of equipment -- a Yamaha CS2X. With the addition of some "free" software that I got from Mason of Exclipsect, I started my first recordings. I then started acquiring additional hardware from my bandmates in Imperial Floral Assault Unit (which started around the same time as Conure) and 15 Degrees Below Zero, and Conure slowly evolved into what it is today.
In case you're not aware, conures are large parrakeets or small parrots. (I've heard them described both ways, but I'm definitely not an expert. I love the birds, but I've never owned one myself.) I had actually planned to use the name Conure for some time before I started the project because of an inside joke with a friend. I won't include it here, though, since it really won't make sense to anybody else.
2. Mark you also work for or run Crunch Pod Media correct . Tell us about that?
Actually, neither is correct. Crunch Pod (the label's current name) is run by Ben Arp (aka C/A/T). Ben originally ran the label as a hobby, mostly releasing CDRs of his friends' projects as well as his own. I had been friends with Ben for a few years before I started working on music, and he was one of the first people I approached about releasing my recordings once I did start. (My very first Conure release, though, was a split cassette with LHDSWTH -- a collaboration between lefthandeddecision and Sleeping With the Earth -- on Troniks.) Ben put out most of my early CDR releases as well as my first real CD, "49 Minutes (Until Release)". However, shortly after that release, he stopped viewing the label as just a hobby and wanted to make it into more of a business. With this shift also came a focus on more beat-oriented bands (which makes perfect sense considering Ben's current musical tastes). Even though Ben isn't releasing any of my current material, he's still very supportive of what I do -- which can be seen by the fact that I'm still using his domain for my websites and e-mail. (I'm guessing this is why people think I work for or run Crunch Pod.) I can't imagine either Conure or 15 Degrees Below Zero being where they are today without him. Thanks, Ben!
3. Conure is working with Edgetone Records for last few releases. How did you come to work with this label?
I was having a tough time finding a home for "The Generation of Our Grandfathers". Most labels that I sent it to said that they liked it, but couldn't release it for various reasons -- wasn't appropriate for their label, too many scheduled releases already, etc, etc. I told my friend Andre Custodio how frustrated I was getting with this, especially considering how happy I was with the recording, and he asked me if I had ever thought of working with Edgetone (who had just released his latest Nihil Communication release). I had met Rent, who runs the label, a few times at various shows, but I wasn't familiar with the label at all. I looked over the label's website and was very happy with what I read, especially this: "Unlike many music corporate structures that mimic a parasite, Edgetone is dedicated to a symbiotic relationship between artist and itself by releasing recordings by artists who are 'self-producers', show a clear proactive interest in working in a community environment with empowerment as the base, a mind for business, and not just looking for the 'deal'. Edgetone does not just 'put out' records, it supports artists."
I sent Rent an e-mail about "The Generation...", and he seemed interested from the start, even before listening to the material. I don't think he was familiar with any of my previous recordings, but he had seen some of my past performances. We came to an agreement, and I've been very happy working with him ever since. Edgetone has released two Conure CDs, one 15DBZ CD, and will be releasing the next 15DBZ CD in April. I'm free to release things on other labels, and will do so if the interest is there, but Edgetone will remain Conure's primary home.
4. Conure is a live force is it hard to be a pedal/ gear based project to perform live?
During the actual performances, no. When I first started playing live, my set-up was pretty much a mix of software and hardware. However, now it's 100% hardware -- a mix of pedals, mics, contact mics, and occaisonally, keyboards and other devices. I don't even remember the last time that I used software for a live Conure performance. (15DBZ is a different story.) I prefer the tactile feelings of the knobs, and I find it's easier for me to stay focussed on the direction the sounds are taking when I'm using hardware.
Other than that, though, being a hardware performer is definitely not that easy! Lugging around the number of bags full of equipment and merch that I do is not the most fun I can imagine, not to mention the amount of set-up and tear-down time that I require compared to other electronics-based artists! At least when I play locally, I can throw everything in my car trunk. However, when I have to fly -- which I've had to do for shows in Berlin, New York, Providence, and Montreal -- things become much more difficult because I have to try to fit everything in my check-in bags, including clothes (which help to protect the equipment) and grooming supplies! (I prefer not to carry any of my equipment on because I don't want to haul the stuff through the airport, and I don't want to have to explain what everything is to security. Fortunately, I haven't had any problems with equipment breaking or being stolen -- YET.) So, yes, insisting on remaining a gear based project can be very hard at times indeed! I'm oftentimes very jealous of John Wiese who does large tours with just his laptop and is still able to sound like he's playing pedals! However, I remember why I put myself through all of this everytime I start playing.
5. Do you always perform Conure as a solo artist do are there collabs for live shows.
Until recently, I wasn't really interested in collaborating with anybody outside of 15 Degrees Below Zero. (In mid-2007, there was one live Nihil Communication/Conure collaboration, but this was just an exception to the rule.) However, this past December, I was playing a fundraiser show for Outsound Presents, a local community of artists headed by Rent of Edgetone, and at the end of the night, there was a large scale collaboration between all of the artists involved in the fundraiser, most of them from the free jazz/"new music" world. It was certainly a unique experience for me and a hell of a lot of fun! This really opened me up to future collaborations, and coincidentally enough, several offers popped up right after that.
In January alone, I ended up collaborating with Whormongr (a San Francisco-based IDM/power noise project), Big City Orchestra (on their ubRadio Salon web radio series), and Andre Custodio. In the next couple of months, I have two shows scheduled with Andre and Thomas Dimuzio (solo and collaboration sets) to celebrate the release of our Thomas Dimuzio + Andre Custodio / Conure split release release on Cohort Records. So, yeah, I'm really into the idea of live collaborations right now. (Even if I wasn't, though, I still would have jumped at the chance to collaborate with Thomas. He's always been one of my main influences.)
6. Is there a running theme with Stream . It seem a lot darker and massive then earlier release to my ear?
In the sense of an actual narrative concept as found in "The Generation of Our Generations", no, there isn't a theme. However, in terms of the sounds used and the overall construction of "Stream", there is. I was trying to make a recording that more closely matched the sounds of my live performances. Thus, the main components of "Stream" consist of heavily processed field recordings, scraping and hitting of contact mics, and other processed mic sounds, which are also the main components of a lot of my shows. These elements also exist in my previous recordings, but not to the extent that they appear on "Stream". There are also sounds on "Stream" that I won't use in performances, such as the synth chords at the beginning of "Sycan", but I feel those elements further accentuate the other elements. However, there was no conscious effort to make "Stream" either angry sounding (a term used in your review of the CD) or darker. That's just where this particular album took me!
7. If someone was to ask you Mark how would you explain Conure to them.
This is probably the hardest question to answer out of all the ones you sent me! I always have a problem describing my sound. I usually just say, "ambient noise", but that really doesn't mean anything to anybody not familiar with this type of music as it is. I've said "experimental electronic music" to some, "avant-garde sounds" to older people, and when I'm feeling more descriptive, I describe Conure's music as being the manipulation and processing of various tones and sound sources. I know that doesn't really say anything, but it's the best that I can come up with!
8. I think Conure would be great for dvd media will there be a video format or music for soundtrack coming . Your atmosphere's would work so well for either.
Thank you! Nothing is currently planned, but I would definitely be open to the idea. Unfortunately, though, my artistic ability is limited to audio so this would require another type of collaboration. For now, I'd probably be more interested in creating the soundtrack for somebody else's project than looking for someone to work with on my own, though.
9. What is the major difference from 15 degrees below zero vs conure?
I was initially going to say the instrumentation used (the addition of Dan's laptop and sampler and Michael's guitar to my equipment) is the main difference, but upon further thought, it's really the ideas behind the sounds. Everything that comes out of Conure is me. There are influences there, sure, including influences from working with Mike and Dan, but it's still just me. However, 15DBZ is a complete partnership in regards to the music. I know I tend to be the public face of the band, and I make most of the organizational decisions, but when it comes to the music, it's all of us. It's not just a collaboration between three separate people either. We bring sides out of each other that don't show up in each other's past or current solo projects. I play stuff with them that I would never imagine doing with Conure, and the same goes with them as well. Conure is my own mind, but when things are on with the band, 15DBZ is its own separate identity, not just Mike, Dan, and Mark playing together. There are definite disagreements when working on new material, and there have been some pretty nasty arguments, but I've never failed to see something worthy coming out of those disagreements, something that would not have existed without the conflict. And it's that melding of different ideas that makes up the difference. (I hope that actually makes sense to somebody else besides just me!)
10. Where do you see conure's sound moving as it seem to have a more organic/ analog style now ?
I don't really see it moving in one particular direction. I'm sure there will be more works reminiscent of "Stream", but I'm interested in producing more atmospheric sounds as well. However, when starting a new work, I don't usually have a firm idea of where I want it to go. I have a few ideas that I want to play with, the results birth more new ideas, and so on. After several rounds of this playing, I finally start realizing what further elements the work needs in order for it to feel like a whole piece, and only then do I realize what sound that work is going to have -- harsh, dark, moody, atmospheric, rhythmic, or whatever. I may be using slightly different tools now, but I'm still unable to predict the direction any particular work will go, much less predict where Conure's sound in general is going to end up.
11. Are you a fan of the Digital age (Myspace, Digital Audio, Webzines, Internet radio) or do you miss the days of radio, paper zines and tape trading???
It's not so cut-and-dried for me. There are elements from both sides that appeal to me equally. For instance, I do miss the tactile feel of zines, but I also love the convenience of webzines. And, while I also love how easy it is for people to sample my music via MySpace, LastFM, my own website, and other sites, I personally prefer to find new artists the old fashioned way -- through live shows, word of mouth, and actually plopping my money down to sample something new, even though I know that I may hate it. (I'm actually pretty good at selecting things that I'll like, though.)
There are also elements from both that do nothing for me. I'll be 38 this year so I'm definitely old enough to have been around for tape trading, but I wasn't really part of this. It just didn't interest me. The same goes for radio. I feel that it definitely has its place for promotion or artists, but I wasn't interested in listening to it myself. However, the same can be said for internet radio. I don't listen to that either.
Well, frankly, I don't listen to any music on my computer. I prefer physical copies of releases, and that is one area where I can't stand the digital age. I loathe the proliferation of MP3s as a new standard. Sure, MP3s are great for sampling new music, but to actually really LISTEN to compressed music on a regular basis? Give me a physical release (I prefer CD over vinyl, but I still have a large vinyl collection) with uncompressed music and actual artwork, and I'm a happy man. Download a band's new release through iTunes? No, thank you. And to prove that I a complete hypocrite, most Conure and 15DBZ CDs are available as MP3s through your standard sources!
12. Whats you thoughts on the current underground music movement in North America do you see a major rebirth or is it very difficult?
This question kind of ties in with the last one for me. I think the underground music movement is VERY strong right now due to the digital age, at least in terms of the number of people letting go of mainstream artists and looking elsewhere for music. There are now so many places to go for people who want to sample new artists. There is definitely a lot more crap for people to wade through, too, but this is a necessary evil for finding the good stuff.
In terms of being able to support one's art financially, though, it is very difficult. (And by supporting one's art, I don't mean paying rent, etc. I suspect underground artists will always have to have an outside source of income. I just mean bringing in enough money to cover your expenses for what you're doing.) One would think that with the relative ease of finding new fans these days, more money would be coming in, but I don't see this happening. Maybe it has to do with piracy, but my (completely uneducated) guess is that this is only a small part of it. The current state of the economy definitely has a part to play in this, but I'm sure there are other factors as well that my currently sluggish brain isn't even thinking of.
13. Do you have interest in working with others on music for Conure or is it way to personal?
As mentioned above, I do enjoy the occaisonal live collaboration now, and I've also done a few collaborative recordings (with Kenji Siratori on a so far unreleased EP and with Moz for a track that was supposed to appear on a Moz ten anniversary release that unfortunately never happened), but as a whole, when working outside of 15 Degrees Below Zero, I prefer to work alone. For one thing, it's difficult to schedule time with others (and that does include scheduling time with 15DBZ), but the main reason for this is that Conure is my chance to see what I am able to achieve on my own. In the future, if I have an idea that I don't have the technical ability to pull off myself, I might utilize other people (but I don't see this happening any time soon), but that's really about it.
14. Thank you for your time place any closing thoughts here.
I don't really have anything to add other than to say thank you, and thanks to those of you who have given my work a chance.
1. Tell us about how the project known as P.H.O.B.O.S. came into being?
I’ve initiated P.H.O.B.O.S. as a band in the early 2000s in Paris, FR, including people playing guitars, drums, keyboards, etc., with the intent to create heavy, dark and hypnotic music, yet without tagging it as “doom”, “post hardcore”, “drone” or whatever. These trends were emerging, and like many musicians I was into it. But coming from a metal and industrial background, I wanted a much more produced and synthetic sound for P.H.O.B.O.S., compared to what was (and still is) the norm in these genres, often live-oriented. Rehearsing as a standard band, with limited visions, was not the best mean to search for a new sound and push the envelope. Then, during the former years, after recording of one demo and playing once on stage, the band quickly narrowed itself to a duo, then to my solo project. Since 2003, P.H.O.B.O.S. is about experimenting in studio, to produce records, still as regards to the original focus.
2. Your debut CD "Tectonics" came out on Appease Me/Candlelight. Why the move back to your own label with your latest release "Anœdipal"?
In fact Appease Me was a sub-label run by members of Blut Aus Nord, and most of the signatures are/were experimental studio projects. Candlelight Records, in charge of marketing and distribution, were complaining about the bands for not being cooperative enough (no touring, no posturing pictures or videos, etc.). On the other hand, we blamed them for not knowing how to promote special music in the mainstream metal market. Finally, they decided to drop the Appease Me rooster, end of story. Afterwards, I was in touch with less important but dedicated labels, which seemed excited to release the new album. But financially speaking, they would not have been able to handle the release in a special format, or they wanted the album almost for free, with little promotion. Then I decided to take care of everything, and to release “Anœdipal” with my own money, on my own label. Hence the long time between the recording and the release date. 3.Your music has a strong mix of Halo, Godflesh, early Voivod and Swans in sound and style. Were these bands road maps at all for your current sound?
Yes, I cannot deny their influence on my work, sound-wise and artistically speaking. During the late eighties, I was crazy about the very few bands that dared to push the boundaries of metal, namely Voivod, Celtic Frost, and let us not forget Coroner. These innovators were not afraid to introduce electronic, industrial or classical parts and effects in their music, despite the adversity of the average metal crowd blinded by the thousands of Slayers or Metallicas wannabees. Later in the electronic camp, the same process occurred towards metal, with early Ministry, Die Krupps, Front Line Assembly, etc. Those bands opened my musical curiosity during my formative years, and I am deeply thankful to them for that. As for other old landmarks, the darkness of early Bathory and the psychotic sounds of Skinny Puppy were crucial too. But above all, I now realize that Swans had the deepest impact on me. The most underrated artists of all time, doubtlessly, and they inspired a lot of awesome bands too (Head of David, Godflesh, early PitchShifter, early Treponem Pal, Halo, Neurosis, Scorn, The Young Gods, etc.) Their former drummer Roli Mosimann has been the producer of a lot of my favourite albums also. More than Black Sabbath, Swans remain the source of everything heavy and hypnotic, and to this day I keep on digging into their entire work and side-projects. I can say that P.H.O.B.O.S.’ identity has been unconsciously built under the guidance of all the pioneers quoted above, yet without trying to rip off one in particular.
4. Do you find the mix of industrial and doom is a very select taste, or with your releases have you found a greater fan base?
I am not sure about the understanding of your question, but if you wonder whether melting doom and industrial may be too peculiar for the masses, my answer is positive. Pure industrial or ambient music are closed niche markets, doom metal too, and this is worst for black metal. I mean, most of the fans/musicians of one style do not really listen to another one, because of lack of curiosity or simply because of their restrained musical culture, wanting to stay ‘true’ to a few coded genres, hence killing the freedom of creation. I personally have no problem to deal with very different types of music, if mixing them efficiently ‘against nature’ can lead to a new bleakness and insanity. Fortunately, some people are open to this process, and I consider them as the elite of sonic arts lovers, above the crowd of entertained sheep. Talking about a “great fan base”, I do not figure out what P.H.O.B.O.S. does really represent among the “scene”. Despite I can hear and read encouraging feedback, like how original my style may be, super heavy, dark as fuck, intelligent, etc., album sales stay confidential. And as you surely guess, sales figures are not significant of the quality of a band, especially nowadays, when culture is still consumed, but not bought anymore.
5. Does P.H.O.B.O.S. perform live often, or are there any real shows? I would see it more as a ritual in sound rather than a band setting. Would I be correct?
Very first and final show occurred in 2003 in Tilburg, NL. I wanted to give it a try, but I knew that playing live without suitable material support (i.e. conceptual lights and screening) was not the best medium to transmit the obscure and twisted feelings of P.H.O.B.O.S. Elaborate and dense compositions are shattered when exposed in a live rock environment, where people are not 100% concentrated, disturbed by all human things and by their own chit-chat. The main problem comes from the common opinion of music, which is sadly shaped by images first, not by sound. Moreover, “playing live” today is a great swindle, especially in the electronic/industrial field, where so-called “live performances” are reduced to one guy just monitoring his fucking laptop after pushing “play”. I won’t drop any big names, but a lot of experimental artists, impressive on records, often deliver disappointing shows. Very few succeed to go beyond their complicated work. At worst they ruin the magic of it. As you have suggested, to discover my sonic world is a solitary effort, almost a ritual, to dive through the thickness of the tracks. To fully experience P.H.O.B.O.S. for the first time, one has to immerse oneself with good headphones at loud volume, preferably in the dark, and then penetrate another dimension, hopefully. This is claustrophobic inhuman sound for introvert people.
6. P.H.O.B.O.S. seems to care equal with the art and construction of packaging as much as the musical creation. Do you feel in this day the need to complete package to be over the top and excellent to get the buyer or consumer interested on buying the title?
Yes, I think that when you consider your music to be special, and if you want to spread it as a material object, you must think about an outstanding packaging too. I am from a generation which spent time to dissect the artwork and words on records, before religiously laying the vinyl on the turntable. This was an important part of the approach, and this is still my favourite way to discover new albums. Call me a fetishist, but I miss the old days, and I which I released P.H.O.B.O.S.’ albums on this support. But there is a price to get seriously into this, and a long format CD packaging has been preferred so far, to release something different and captivating. For impenetrable music like P.H.O.B.O.S., putting an effort in illustrations and unveiling the lyrics is more helpful for the listener’s experience than playing live, or just sending a payable link to download the album.
7. Is P.H.O.B.O.S. a fan of the digital / 21st century media (Myspace, Webzines, Youtube, Internet radio and Mp3's)? Or do you miss the days of tape trading, Fanzines and Radio shows?
Some digital media like specialized webzines or official websites are useful for updated news, and to discover music, despite the low quality of compressed/encoded sound. P.H.O.B.O.S. is supported through its own online visiting card, www.phobosdrone.org, the only official resource which takes care of everything (contact, track excerpts, shop, etc.). Since live posturing and image are not the promotion axes, it is useless to be linked to the other continuously changing media of the web that you have quoted (yesterday MySpace, today Facebook, tomorrow another trend…). There are so many bands/projects polluting the internet with unconfirmed news, unfinished work, false friends, etc. They guess that uploading their first rehearsal on YouTube is more important than working hard to build their own identity. These are the signs of the times: Image before substance. Since I am not really into socializing, it would make no sense to expose how many so-called friends/allies/parasites or bands are in touch with me. I may be wrong in my way to broadcast the plague, but first of all, I want to stay honest to myself and keep P.H.O.B.O.S. far from the technological fashions. I do not need to participate in this big idleness to believe in my music. If intelligent people are searching for sounds like mine, they know how to reach them, without to be fooled by digital over-information. Back in the day, tape trading or paper fanzines, although laborious, were much more passionate ways to promote music, involving real activists. Yet, I was not really into it. Not because of disinterest, but because of the place where I grew in, out of Europe, when just finding interesting records and magazines was already a hard task. I did not have the underground culture to discover “beyond the mainstream”. I surely missed some great metal demos, but on the other hand, at an early age, I was forced to listen to the various music styles that were available, and to take the best out of them. 8. There seems to be a more experimental element in the new release "Anœdipal". Will you be expanding on the more open textures and drifting drones on future releases?
I would not say that “Anœdipal” is more experimental than “Tectonics”, sound-wise. The process to create new sounds and to blend them in the music was quite similar (sampling, field recordings, effects, etc). But the album construction is much more consistent, and my dark feelings were assumed by enhancing the black metal vibrancies buried inside of me for a long time. As for future sounds, P.H.O.B.O.S. has always been about open textures, drones, weird layers, walls of sound, noises, etc… This is my modus operandi for every release, but I cannot predict to which level it will go next.
9. Will Megaton Mass Products be releasing titles outside of P.H.O.B.O.S.? Or will the label be a home to your creations only?
The label was mainly launched to release my works. Other material is waiting for completion, and if I feel the music too far from P.H.O.B.O.S. style or sound, then Megaton Mass Products could be the easy way to publish it under another side-project’s name. Other wishes, as previously told, would include the release of vinyl records. But all these P.H.O.B.O.S. related plans need high investment, if I want to maintain a respectable standard for packaging and production. Thus, even if I would like to, the label is not viable enough to help other original acts. Please do not send any demo yet …
10. Is there a theme or ideal that P.H.O.B.O.S. holds throughout the releases you have created?
Graphically speaking, all the albums or demo cover artworks, which mainly feature lava, fire, volcanoes, rocks textures, etc, seem to be geologically-oriented. This is reinforced by the earthshaking frequencies of the music. But when paying attention to the lyrics, one would observe that P.H.O.B.O.S. deals with my personal thinking and experiences: the end of times, humanity, the meaning of life, sex, self-destruction, etc. I try to transmit these miscellaneous themes with my own metaphors and by referring to some psychoanalytic / psychological / sociological / religious concepts. Without a main concept, my writing embraces various sides and thoughts of the same person. I do not tell stories but mine; past and future.
Since its launching in 2002, phobosdrone.org has almost kept the same structure. To frequently renew and update your website is the rule in the internet world, to give the impression that your band is alive. But web mastering is long and boring compared to creating music, it would be a real pain in the ass to completely rework the website. During the past years, I have just done some minor modifications, like adding or deleting some modules (shop, guestbook, etc.), and I have embellished its aesthetic with my own sounds, photographs and graphic works.
12. Does the artwork for "Anœdipal" tie in with the theme of the release? Who did the amazing artwork as well?
The lyrics of “Anœdipal” are much more thoughtful and psychoanalytic than on the previous album, whose artwork had been executed by me, based on my personal volcanic pictures. This time it was a too difficult task to reflect the abstract and twisted images of my mind, and I accepted the offer of Stefan Thanneur for this hard job. In addition to being a close friend, he is a talented graphic designer too (check out is blowing work at www.manifeste.net). I trusted him throughout the process, from the packaging definition to the entire illustrations. With little input from me, he has succeeded to catch the very few human and organic elements of the tracks, to melt them with truly disturbing yet evocative matters and colours, sometimes recalling the geological trademark of the previous album.
13. Do you feel a kinship with current drone artists like SUNN0))), House of Low Culture, Nadja, etc.?
Not really. Despite I am into bands like Sunn O))) and affiliated, P.H.O.B.O.S. is much less minimalist, more articulated, almost “song-oriented”, and incorporates very different extreme styles. A common ground would be the slow, heavy, or hypnotic atmospheres. As for HOLC, Nadja, etc, or other laptop sounding projects, I do not feel in connection to their style either. Finally, talking about ‘drone’, one cannot bring all these bands together under the ‘drone music’ banner. According to me, drone remains a process, not a musical genre, in order to reach a specific feeling by low frequencies control. Same goes for the core of black metal or industrial: this is all about feeling and frequencies. And by the way, the ‘drone’ in my website name should be taken in its first acceptation, meaning that there are droning or buzzing passages in P.H.O.B.O.S., not that P.H.O.B.O.S. plays ‘drone metal’.
14. Thank you for your time. Any closing thoughts please place here.
Nothing to add, Clint, so much has already been answered to your interested questions. Thank you for your support.